Orthopedic Stories

John's Story

Dec 1, 2023

“By the end of therapy, I was pretty much pain-free.” - John Biernat

John Biernat is a former police officer. After being injured in 2010, he was diagnosed with a herniated disk and had surgery to repair it. He did well for several years, until a weekend trip where he was in agonizing pain.

“I had shooting pain in my back and legs. I tried to just tough it out, but each day it got worse. By Sunday, I wasn’t sure how I was going to get on the airplane. The pain was excruciating.”

At home, John followed up with a doctor who said his disk and cartilage were degenerating – everything was collapsing and pushing on his nerves. The doctor recommended physical therapy to help avoid surgery.

“I work out at the Powerhouse Gym in Birmingham and have seen DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan (RIM) signs. I decided to give them a try.”

Hoping to get rid of as much pain as possible, therapists worked on his core, back and oblique muscles. Multiple sessions a week, John worked on stretching, balance, and tightening his core while working out with tension bands, dumbbells and cable-type machines.

“Within two weeks, I noticed a difference and was back doing the elliptical machine. By the end of my 10 weeks of therapy, I was pretty much pain-free and haven’t had an issue since.”

John says he tried therapy in the past, but by far, the RIM staff were more knowledgeable and confident in their care. He was never in pain and liked how they tailored his workout for him. He feels many people choose surgery because they feel it’s the only way to get better, but he encourages others to give RIM therapy a try first and hopefully avoid the operating room.